“We have placed first, second or third at counties for the past 15 years,” said Neal Levy, North Shore girls’ track coach. “Winning isn’t the top priority though. Reaching our full potential is.”
That has been the mantra for Levy and the North Shore Lady Vikings track team for years. Those standards have brought about continued success and that fifteen-year streak continued with a second-place finish at the Section VIII Nassau County Class A championship meet on May 24. North Shore was behind on points for the majority of the day, and come the latter portion of the meet, the storied program was battling for second place.
“We had some injuries to high-performing athletes, so we relied on a lot of our younger girls,” Levy said. “We said ‘Let’s put ourselves in the position to be successful, and let’s be in it by the relays,’ which were the last three races of the day.”
The Lady Vikings responded in a big way. In the girls 4x800, 4x400, and 4x100 relays, a total of 14 different runners (some ran two relay legs) were able to collect 22 out of 30 possible points to secure a second-place finish for North Shore. Of those fourteen girls, twelve of them were underclassmen and none were seniors. Six of those girls ran their fastest times to date.
“Six of them ran the fastest they’ve ever ran in their life. Lifetime PRs when the team needed it most,” Levy said. “That is remarkable.”
North Shore’s Jules Firouztale (sophomore), Kayley Lehane (sophomore), Madeline Bush (eight grade), Olivia Lamond (freshman), Sarah Hoell (freshman), and Ashton Guss (sophomore) won the 4x800 relay to secure 10 team points.
“By the time we were getting ready to run the second relay, I asked ‘Did you see what the first relay did,?’” Levy said. “No other runners were going to give us the race because of what team we were.”
Minutes later, North Shore’s Ruby Kessler (eighth grade), Carolyn Doyle (junior), Guss, Emilie Preuss (freshman), Firouztale and Victoria Topol (junior) came out victorious in the 4x400 to secure another 10 points for the Lady Vikings. North Shore then finished fifth in the 4x100 with Topol, Sydney Getelman (freshman), Kaillan Gaynor (sophomore), Sabina Tejpaul (sophomore), Georgia Ritter (junior) and Ella Scheffel (freshman).
Other North Shore highlights included Hoell finishing fourth in the 2000-meter steeplechase, Isabella Delacruz and Firouztale finishing second and fifth respectively in the 400-meter hurdles, Sophie Rosencrans and Nicole Schneider finishing second and third respectively in the 1500-meter run, and Lehane finishing fourth in the 400-meter dash. Schneider also ran away with the county championship in the 3000 and was second in the 800. The talented junior finished with 24 individual points at the Class A meet.
“Throughout the year, whenever any kid finishes a race it is always ‘What’s my time, what’s my time?’”, Levy said. “But come this time of year, it is always run for each other.”
Valley Stream North finished with 118.5 points to win the county title. North Shore finished with 84.5, just edging out Valley Stream South (81) for runner-up status.